‘Firefly: Brand New ‘Verse’ continues to be a perfect symphony of new and old that takes an already interesting foundation for a universe and expands it in new yet familiar ways. Within the span of these pages, the art team flexes as they put on an artistic showcase that bounces through various locales and situations that resonate deeply with emotion and power. This is spin-off comics done right.
If there is one thing that remains ever true about anyone who crews the Firefly-class starship Serenity, wherever they go trouble will find them. And they just found a whole lot of dangerous trouble in the latest Firefly: Brand New ‘Verse issue.
While the overall story has riffed on familiar themes or ideas from the original short-lived television show (especially the cargo that turns out to be a human being taken from a giant evil government/corporation), Josh Lee Gordon, Fabiana Mascolo, Lucia Di Giammarino, and Jim Campbell have built something that stands on its own while expanding the foundation it’s been built upon.
Compared to the previous issues this one is a lot of action, which makes sense after the past two issues really set things up more and were leading right to this spot. We’ve gained a lot of information about the new cast and where some of the old cast have been and how they interact, and now we see what they do with trouble comes knocking.
Mascolo and Di Giammarino get a lot of space in this issue to just cut loose artistically from a variety of ships to robotic insect and car chases to some stunning panels with Serenity dodging through space debris near the issue’s end. During the aforementioned action and chase scenes, there is a lot of banter back and forth laid out perfectly by Campbell, but Gordon knows when to back off and let the artists do their thing.
Near the end, there are a sequence of truly gorgeous panels that focus on Zoe and Emma Washburne and the moment where Emma (along with Lu Bao and the woman rescued from Blue Sun) takes off in Serenity and leaves her mother and the others behind. Every bit of emotion and things that need to be said are said with the images. The pain that Zoe is clearly feeling is palpable while Emma’s need to prove herself and do what she feels is right is laid all out at this moment.
This series continues to prove that there are ways to tackle old properties or things we have nostalgia for that don’t require just getting caught up in trying to recapture the past. The past resonates in every fiber of the series, especially with the old characters still part of the story, but never overwhelms. There are just enough touches of the past to enrich the stories which is just the perfect amount.
It will be interesting to see where things go from this point especially considering the origin story of the young woman they are rescuing and how that ties to what is going on with the main Firefly comic series at this moment. Whether this book will reference any of that remains to be seen, especially since it has to somewhat carefully tiptoe around what it reveals of the missing 20 years. Mostly because clearly, they don’t want to make things too concrete that might affect what the main book might have to do at some point depending on how long either book runs.
Firefly: Brand New ‘Verse #4 is now on sale in print and digitally from Boom Studios.